Note: This post was originally published on my business website – spiritedwolfmedia.com.
In 2023, it is not OK to have just an inkling of what your goals may or may not be for your business.
In fact, maybe knowing what you want for your business, has never been the best strategy, let alone, the right strategy.
If you want to continue operating for the next year and beyond, let 2023 be the year you finally get serious about your business strategy.
Why The Right Business Strategies Are Important
It’s time to stop white-knuckling it from quarter to quarter, hoping your strategy hopefully pays off.
It’s time to stop worrying about what to do next because strategizing just isn’t your strongest skill.
Creating, researching, building your product or service is – and should be – your main focus.
Of course, you want to sell your products. But if you don’t have a strategy because you have been thick in the weeds of producing, it can be difficult to cut those weeds down to find your target audience.
Hopefully, you have done your research before embarking on your business journey and have an idea of who would best benefit from your thing.
But, once you get your thing to market, how are you going to stay in the minds of your target audience?
How are you going to convert them from looky-loos to loyal, returning customers?
How are you going to make sure every single word – from your packaging to your website to your receipts – makes the best impression, whether it’s the first time or the 50th?
That is where the best strategy – the right strategy – comes into play.
And that is where I, a Freelance Strategist, am here to save your day.
5 Reasons You NEED To Hire A Business Strategist
1. You don’t have a strategy.
This should be a duh, but you’d be surprised at how many companies operate by just throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it works. That may be a strategy, but it is not the best or the right one.
No shame. We have all been there when we are first starting out.
2. Your current strategy isn’t working.
Again, this should be another duh, but again, you’d be surprised. Again, no shame. We have all been there.
Sometimes us business owners get so stuck in the minute detail, that we can’t see in front of our noses to figure out what isn’t working, let alone realize that something isn’t working.
At least not until it’s too late.
3. You want to try something new.
If you want to try something new, like venturing into a new demographic, or a new industry, you need to know what to expect.
You need to know the strengths, weaknesses, possible pain points, AND possible happy points that will make your new venture a success.
This analysis IS a strategy in, and of itself.
If you find that your new venture has too many weaknesses, then maybe you don’t venture into that new space. At least not yet.
Or maybe, the market isn’t ready for YOU. Yet.
4. You have a competitor that is encroaching on your space.
A strategy to best a competitor? Heck yeah, sign me up! It will be a friendly match, but a match worthwhile.
Strategists should never cause undue harm. At least, I am not a strategist that plays dirty.
But, if the company that hired the strategist wins? Well, may the best strategy win…
5. You don’t know what the next steps are.
As entrepreneurs and small business owners, we tend to have blinders on.
We tend to focus on our passions, our product, our service, and that’s about it.
It’s easy to hyperfocus on what we love to do, forgetting about all the other nitty-gritty, boring things like planning and competitor analysis that must be done so we can continue to hyperfocus on what we love to do.
But, sometimes we hyperfocus because we don’t know what the next steps are, where to go from here, or where we even want OR need to go.
That’s why you need to hire a strategist like me who can bring in a fresh perspective and see the big picture so you can hyperfocus.
The Last-ditch Effort Reason
You want to shut down your company.
This reason is not even logical, but you never know.
It’s sad when the end of a novel arrives. But it is important to nail the final chapter. And you can do that by making sure all of your T’s and I’s are crossed and dotted.
It sounds strange – why hire someone if you are going out of business? Why not? You want to leave a legacy and end on a good, positive note. A strategist can help.
Strategies Are Easier Said Than Done
What does strategy even mean?
When you hear the word strategy, you may think of political strategies to win elections, economic strategies to overcome the deficit, military strategies to win wars or even psychological strategies to conquer our fears.
As a business owner, I hope you have heard about business strategies.
Just getting your thing to market is a strategy. Heck, researching and developing your thing is a strategy.
But what else can be considered a strategy?
According to Merriam-Webster, a strategy is “a careful plan or method” and “the art of devising or employing plans toward a goal.”
Below are some important business strategies that you should already be thinking about.
And if not, Hi. My name is Kelly and I am a Freelance Strategist available for brainstorming, consultations, and implementations.
Umbrella business strategies and decisions:
- How to manufacture your thing
- How to distribute your thing
- Where to sell your thing
- How to price and sell your thing
- How to promote your thing
- Where to promote your thing
And on a more detailed scale:
- For physical things – do you sell your thing online only? On Amazon only, or in addition? Is there another online platform that would help? Or does your thing need physical shelf space? Can it even be sold online? What about shipping? What shipper do you choose? Is your packaging strong enough to survive shipping?
- For services – how do you market? How do you drive your audience to your thing? How do you build trust with your audience? Do you need to have a physical storefront? Are your customers coming back for more, and if not, why not?
- If you are growing – do you add another product to your product line or your service offerings? Is it the right time to expand your offerings? Or should you wait? Can your manufacturing keep up with demand, or do you need to find a new manufacturer, or add more employees?
- If you want to expand further – are you ready? If you are thinking about buying another company, should you? If you want to Franchise, is now the right time?
- If you want to enter a new demographic – why? Are you making the move because you “think” it might be a better market? Or are you making the move because you have done the research?
When you first start a business, you will answer most of these questions to get started.
It’s only when once we get started and into the groove that we tend to forget we need to KEEP strategizing.
Strategizing is not a one-and-done deal. It is a constant, evolving, living process that must be done regularly.
It’s when we forget to, or stop strategizing, that bad decisions happen. Bad decisions that could lead to the end of our business.
I don’t want that for you and I hope you don’t want that for you, either.
Example Of A Bad Strategy
While in college and grad school, I worked with a small mom-and-pop online craft seller.
I was their office manager, order fulfiller, inventory reminder, marketing guru, and customer retention human for almost 10 years.
I did 90% of the business. All but working with the manufacturers and making the strategies.
But then, problems started arising when they decided to purchase an existing business that sort of, kind of fit with their current product line.
Their existing product line was growing leaps and bounds quickly. So quickly, manufacturing was already having a hard time keeping up.
Add to that, a few natural disasters back to back wiped out most of the resources for that existing product line.
Orders started piling up.
Add in the new-to-us business, and I watched the company slowly fall apart.
There was nothing more I could do. I made sure our social media network was top-notch. I made sure our marketing materials were on point.
Then delays with customs started.
To save money and hopefully to supposedly curtail orders for a little bit, we stopped advertising in the magazines that were our number one source of customers.
We finally got our shipments. They barely filled those backorders.
6 months passed, and then a year. Our product was such a hit, that people WANTED to wait.
But once that year mark hit of some orders not being able to be fulfilled – it was game over. Refunds were provided. Promises of big orders, canceled.
We never recovered.
If I were in charge of strategizing then, or if they even allowed me a say, I would have told them, straight up, to wait.
At least until after our current manufacturer caught up and all of our existing customers kept happy because we could fulfill their current orders.
But instead, they purchased this company and immediately added it to their manufacturers must make list.
And that was BEFORE mom-and-pop even know if we could successfully sell those new product lines.
In their defense, they never tested the market because the existing company they bought already had a booming customer base.
Little did they know, the company was sold because a big box store was in the process of taking the product line and making it their own, stealing any sort of market share we might have been able to retain or capture.
And that’s an example of a bad strategy and what NOT to do. An example of things to think about.
What goes into the best/right strategy?
Ok, so, that was an example of a bad strategy. What is an example of a good strategy?
First, let’s look at what a good strategy needs (in no particular order):
- Thought – you need to completely and fully think through your possible strategy and see where it may go so you can make additional plans if necessary, or you may be back at ground zero, again
- Action – you need to make sure you have the right tools and resources to put your strategy into action before you press start, or you will just be playing catch up and that’s no fun
- Consistency – you need to be consistent to see results or you won’t actually know if its your strategy that is working OR something else
- Timing – you need to look at your calendar AND the consumers calendar (yes, that’s a thing, and not because I just made it up…), to make sure your strategy will fit with whatever is happening, or you might have a great strategy be ignored because it’s not the right time of year, cycle, phase, etc.
- Solve – your strategy needs to solve something, and you need to make sure you can measure what is solved, or you will have an unnecessary strategy. Period.
Huh, I guess there is a particular order because TACTS goes into the best/right strategy.
Example of a best/right strategy
I just so happen to be writing this during all the chaos that is the tech industry right now, and the perfect example of a best/right strategy landed on my Twitter feed last night.
Amazon, Google, and Meta have all laid off hundreds of thousands of people for the sake of profits.
I am not a tech person, but from what I gleaned, each of those companies ran head first into expansion and growth without taking the economy into consideration.
And that is where Apple has won.
Now, I am not an Apple fan. I saved up to buy my first apple iPod when I was like 15 and a week later, the next version came out. Bad strategizing on my part, but in my defense – I had no idea a new one was coming down the line that soon. This was at the beginning of Apple’s motto to release a new product every. single. year.
Anyway, not the point of this post.
The move by Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, to REQUEST a $49 MILLION pay cut instead of laying off humans, has warmed my cold, apple heart a little bit.
Ok, maybe a lot of bit but everything I own is Android related and I haven’t broken a single screen with my slippery fingers.
Again, not the point of this post.
The pay cut was not the only strategy that has allowed Apple to keep its workforce and become a beacon of hope in the dreary land that is tech currently.
Their strategy to be cautiously optimistic and slowly add employees, invest small into projects with unknown futures, and wisely choose which benefits and perks to provide while remaining lean, has paid off.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Apple in the future as our economic stability remains in question.
But the strategy put forth by Apple and Tim Cook, is a great example of how important a best/right strategy is. Not to mention, a great example of leadership.
How I can help as your strategist
And that brings us to the conclusion of this post, and how, as your strategist, I can help you and your business flourish.
I have this uncanny talent and natural knack for connecting all the dots. I can look at something and see the smaller pictures that are all connected to the bigger picture.
I can visualize the right direction to take to get to the goal and provide the roadmap on how to get there.
And, I can look at your situation from a 360* perspective, switching my lens to find a proper solution that will fit your needs, not someone else’s
Plus, and I think this is the best part of my abilities, I play a mean friendly devil’s advocate that will make you not only think about but also consider all those little details that will go into making sure your strategy wins. But without all the judgement.
When you hire me as your Freelance Strategist, it will not be boring. We will have fun on your path to a successful strategy.
Hire me to help with brainstorming possible routes.
Hire me to help with research and the building of a strategy based on those routes.
Hire me to help with implementing the strategy we build.
Now, keep in mind that when you hire me, each strategy is unique and therefore, pricing for your strategy will be unique.
I will tell you this though, I am not cheap. A good strategy shouldn’t be.
In fact, finding the best/right strategy is a worthy investment and should be placed up high near your marketing budget.
Because without the best/right strategy, from my own history, you won’t have a marketing budget.
Ready to hire me? Or have some questions? Let’s connect! Schedule your free 15-minute strategy call today.
In the meantime, Adventure on with Curiosity,
~Kelly “Beast” Steele